Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – March 7, 2020
Let your word be ‘Yes, Yes’ or ‘No, No’; anything more than this comes from the evil one. Matthew 5:37
When I think of common phrases from childhood conversations with my siblings, “I swear!” may be at the top of the list. Usually this was uttered when trying to convince one another of some outlandish thing we’d heard, or to assure a more cautious family member of the permissibility of whatever thing we clearly weren’t meant to be doing (as in, “I swear Mom said it’s okay!”). This sort of swearing may seem harmless enough in young children, but it plants seeds that, if not rooted out, will grow into the compartmentalized and divided self that Jesus so passionately warns us against.
In the ancient world, swearing oaths was a common practice. One could swear by God himself, as well as by the temple, the gold in the temple, even by heaven or earth. And with these oaths came well defined expectations and specific binding obligations, as well as creative ways to stretch the law to allow people to break their oaths. In short, attorneys have been around for a long time!
Yet in a culture where this had become the accepted norm, Jesus presses past the legality of an oath and cuts straight to the heart, to the type of person that stands behind the oaths they make. The true purpose of the law is to become the type of person to which it points. Jesus longs for you to be a person of truth. He invites you to tend to your interior life in such a way that it is in full alignment with your exterior life, especially in your dealings with other people.
Where are you tempted to hide your true self? Is the foundation of your life built upon transparency and mutual trust, or do you need a never-ending stream of “deals” and “negotiations” to mitigate the lack of trust? This may be in a formal sense, such as business negotiations or employment contracts, yet it is remarkably easy to transfer this way of life into the domestic sphere. What would it look like for you to “let your yes be yes” in your marriage or dating relationship? Perhaps even harder, what does it mean to assume the best in the other’s “yes” or “no?” Can we take them at their word and resist the temptation to assume a darker motivation or ulterior motive?
Commit yourself today to a life of complete honesty, even when it is deeply painful, and trust the Lord to honor that commitment and bless you as you faithfully walk in his ways. “Let your word be ‘Yes, Yes’ or ‘No, No.’”
“The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity” (Proverbs 11:3).
Father, give me the strength to live an honest and integrated life, and the courage to trust you with the results. Amen.
Where have formal agreements allowed you to neglect the deeper parts of your interior life?
Jesus invites us to tend to our interior life in such a way that it aligns with our exterior life, especially in our love for other people. #swear #WisdomHunters #Jesus #truth
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